The ECOWAS Parliament today submitted a Draft Supplementary Act for the Enhancement of the Powers of the Community Parliament to the ECOWAS Commission.
Presenting the Draft Supplementary Act at ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja, the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said the enhancement of the powers of the Community Parliament was in line with Article 4(2) of the Supplementary Protocol which provides that the Parliament’s powers “shall be progressively enhanced from advisory to co-decision making and subsequently to a lawmaking role in areas to be defined by the Authority”.
Ekweremadu regretted that whereas ECOWAS Parliament was the only supranational parliament with solid structure and prospects of transforming into a full legislative body throughout the African continent at the time of its inception in year 2000, it had remained a mere consultative and advisory Parliament whereas other regional parliaments it predated had either gained legislative powers or at the fringes of doing so.
Besides the European Union which he said had long assumed full legislative powers, he cited the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) as an example of a sub-regional parliament that have gained legislative powers in specific areas while the processes of transforming the Southern African Development Commission Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF), and the Pan African Parliament had reached advanced stages.
“The internationally acceptable best practice is to democratise the integration process by having a legislative Parliament that will make laws and conduct oversight to enhance transparency, accountability, and proper separation of powers”, Ekweremadu stressed.
Speaking on the salient aspects of the document, the Speaker explained that Draft Supplementary Act seeks the election to the ECOWAS Parliament by Electoral College and a co-decision status with Council such that both Council and Parliament could initiate Legislative Acts.
He further said:
“The Draft Act seeks the integration of Parliament into the Community Mechanism on Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Security and for the Parliament to be involved in Election Monitoring.
“It seeks to empower the Parliament to oversight Community sector policies, confirm the appointment of Statutory Appointees, and strengthen interactions between ECOWAS Parliament and National Parliaments”.
Senator Ekweremadu craved the partnership and support of the ECOWAS Commission to “turn the page of regional governance through the timely adoption of the Draft Supplementary Act on the Parliament”
Reacting to the submissions, the President of ECOWAS, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo who commended Senator Ekweremadu for the vibrant leadership and vision which he had brought to bear on the Community Parliament, pledged the Commission’s support towards the realisation of the noble ideals set out in the Draft Act.
He said the enhancement of the powers of the Parliament was not only proper, but would also speed up the processes of regional integration, security, and development.